Two days ago I attend the book launch of Patricia Glyn’s new book “What Dawid Knew” – an adventure and expedition with the Kruiper family, the last true Bushmen of the Kalahari.
I had no inkling of what lay ahead.
What lay ahead was one of the most riveting presentations of my life; the audience were enthralled by Patricia’s delivery; the topic and emotions it brought were off the charts. As a South African and human, I urge you to investigate if the author will be presenting at a convenient location and attend.
The book and presentation concern the Bushmen – and I use this word in preference to ‘San’ for sound reasons as explained by Patricia in both the presentation and book – it looks at what we have collectively done to this group; our last living ancestors; humanity at its dawn.
As a human being, you owe it to yourself to take this small pilgrimage and understand our roots before they are lost forever – as they most likely will be.
We, living as we do in the cradle of mankind, are privileged beyond measure to have such ready access to the Northern Cape; the last enclave of this ancient culture, who still harbour and live pretty much by the same hunter-gatherer culture that the very DNA and genes inside of you have lived by for tens of thousands of generations.
Theirs is our history too: Only the tiniest fraction of our time as a species has been spent under the regime of conquest, ownership, governance, religious dogma and divorce from nature that settled farming techniques self-imposed on us relatively recently.
Of course, the results of this, our ‘advanced’ lifestyles, are likely to be our undoing as a species; along with a global extinction; the 6th major one; of most species as we know them.
Our farming has impoverished the biodiversity, poisoned the soil, gutted and severed the critical migration routes, destroyed the oceans, emptied the aquifers, polluted the atmospheres; and are now fundamentally changing the atmospheric balance too so that a climate catastrophe is advancing at shocking pace. The list of our trespasses against this world and all its life is almost without measure.
I say our proximity to our ‘living ancestors’ is a “privilege beyond measure” because seeing our roots at first hand – provided we can put our egos and self assured dogmas aside – might just remind us of who we are; clever apes; taxonomically apes that just became smart enough to organize ourselves and work tools.
We have become so absorbed by the individual cultures that we were born into – and the collective experience as citizens of macro-economic megaliths – that we have forgotten that we are of nature, a part of nature; and now a force of nature too, working to our own detriment.
When nature fails, so will we; the more we remind ourselves of that, the better chance we have of inching off of the fateful path we are on.
Of course – none of us can become Bushmen – soft and podgy as we are, we can no longer subsist. We would not last a day in their shoes; or, in fact, bare footed.
It is inconceivable that we can pull back from the industrial and fiercely competing path we are on – 7,3-billion of us all now chasing the “American Dream” of consumerism; crazy superstitious thinking steroid driven by evangelical and extremist hotheads, all hopped up on nuclear bravado and chauvinist ego.
The most I can hope is that you stop and think a moment about our roots, and that there is nothing ‘natural’ about our present way of life.
Patricia’s book will remind you that there are a clutch of people – the most faithful to the history of your genes – living just up the road. Their story is immense; our history with them is the embodiment of evil.
The irony, of course, is that the evil-doers carried bibles; those who will lash out against what I’m saying here and who will remain most indifferent to this human tragedy detailed in “What Dawid Knew”, still do.
And this brings me to a conclusion of sorts and a ‘continuation of thought’:
A year ago I observed in Atheism Breeds Pity, Faith Begets Indifference the dichotomy whereby a direct correlation exists between the degree to which an individual is versed in understanding of evolutionary natural selection, and how vigorous that individual’s social conscience (and politics) will try to insulate humanity from the cruelties inherent in natural selection.
The real dichotomy is best revealed by those who deny that evolution natural selection is at play in the natural world (whether we like it or not); they generally do so on religious grounds: In that denying of the fact, those individuals seem more than oblivious; they seem, through their conservative political stance, to actively want to visit natural selection – a survival-of-the-fittest – onto their fellow man.
They tend to be aggressive in their capitalistic outlook and stand against any moves for social catchnets and assistance.
> Think Democrat: Clinton or Obama vs Republican: Bush or Chaney
I pick on religion, not simply because the Bushmen are living evolutionary treasures, a matter denied by the barking mad new evangelical set; but because the Bushmen were hunted to hear extinction on the biblically inspired premise that they were in fact not human at all; in that no reference to them could be found traced back to the creation myth of Genesis.
That aside, on a less egregious charge: Were religion taken at its word and a force for kindness; the cause of Bushmen suffering historically and still now would long since have enjoyed the vast resources that all religions command.
Instead, religious charity is a lip service and nothing but a PR marketing stunt where those assisted or those watching are expected to fall into the fold and bolster the numbers and clout.
Think about this a little; think about how our species evolved and then our cultures on top of our genes. Realize that the last of our common heritage still exits; consider what you can do to allow it to exist beyond your lifetime.